When this self-employment thing isn’t going so well, I will be able to tell myself I’ve been getting rejections for a very long time. Or passive non-response rejections, anyway. [ETA: they did reply, and kindly, even if it was indeed a rejection. See next post.]
The below is a 1986 letter from my esteemed father to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (which still exists, who knew?). You can click to embiggen, but for ease, I’ll retype:
While it probably is not unusual that my wife and I are regular readers of your Mystery Magazine, I think it probably is a bit unusual that my eight year old daughter is a regular reader, too (although I have to say that she generally goes after your shorter stories rather than the longer ones).
Alden is in the fourth grade at Orchard School in South Burlington, and was fascinated by your “Mystery Photography” contest this month. I know that this story wouldn’t win in an open competition, but I wanted to send it to you in case you even write to individuals who submit entries. Alden worked on this for quite a while, and, partial as I am, I think this is quite interesting in a rather weird way. Her spelling leaves a bit to be desired — although unfortunately I have to note that some of my freshmen students spell not much better than she — so I have typed a “cleaned up” version of her story which is enclosed.
I hope you’ll be able to acknowledge her entry.
Hey, Dad, major party foul on the “dear sirs.” Did you know Hitchcock’s wife Alma Reville was one of his primary scriptwriters, his former boss, and a total badass? I’m sure it wasn’t 50/50 (because I’m sure it still isn’t), but there could have been a chick on that staff in 1986.
That said, here is the photograph of the month:
I lived in Massachusetts, quite peacefully. I had four children, all dearly loved and my husband was dead.
One night my eldest daughter woke me up saying, “Mother, 4 blobs are outside!”
“Of course,” I said. “Go back to sleep.”
Next night I heard my husband calling me. I went outside, equipped with gun, silently.
Indeed, there were the blobs, all four.
“Who are you?” I asked them. None spoke, but were silently approaching.
I shot once, twice, thrice, four times. Each blob opened. Out stepped my four precious children. Each with a deep wound on their left breast. Humming: “Ne’er believe us, ne’er retrieve us.”
And now, sitting in my jail cell, I still hum…